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antibody to proteins found in wheat.” But, one
particular protein in wheat — gluten — causes
an abnormal immune system reaction in the
small intestines of people with celiac disease.
She advises that avoiding wheat is the primary
treatment for wheat allergy and if you have a
wheat allergy, you may also be allergic to other
grains such as barley, oat, or rye.
Allergies versus
In some cases, what may appear to be
a food allergy may actually be food
intolerance and both are different. Unlike
a true food allergy, Jafri says that food
intolerance doesn’t involve the immune
system. “With a true food allergy, even
tiny amounts of the food can cause a
severe reaction while in most cases,
someone who has food intolerance can
eat small amounts of the food with only
mild symptoms, such as indigestion or
heartburn,” she says and while symptoms
of intolerance may be unpleasant-
-including abdominal cramping or
diarrhea--they are not life-threatening.
Peanut allergy symptoms, points out Jafri,
can range from a minor irritation to a life-
threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
“For some people with peanut allergy, even
tiny amounts of peanuts can cause a serious
reaction and an allergic response to peanuts
usually occurs within minutes after exposure,”
she says and symptoms range from mild to
severe. In fact, peanut allergy is the most
common cause of food-induced anaphylaxis,
a medical emergency that requires treatment
with an epinephrine injector (EpiPen,
Twinject) and a trip to the emergency room.
“Anaphylaxis signs include constriction of
airways, swelling of your throat that makes
it difficult to breathe, severe drop in blood
pressure, rapid pulse and/or dizziness,
lightheadedness or loss of consciousness,” she
says. “Exposure to peanuts can occur by direct
contact, cross-contact, and inhalation and/
or if family members have allergies,” says Jafri
and the risk for peanut allergy increases if
other allergies, especially other types of food
allergies, are common in your family.
Eggs, says Jafri, are one of the most common
allergy-causing foods in children. “Egg allergy
symptoms usually occur a few minutes to a
few hours after eating eggs or foods containing
eggs,” she says and symptoms range from
mild to severe and can include skin rashes,
hives, nasal inflammation, and vomiting or
other digestive problems. “While egg allergy
can occur as early as infancy, most children
outgrow their egg allergy before adolescence,”
says Jafri however in some cases, it continues
into adulthood.
A milk allergy is an abnormal response by the
body’s immune system to milk and products
containing milk, explains Jafri and while cow’s
milk is the usual cause of milk allergy, milk
from sheep, goats and buffalo may also cause
a reaction. “Milk allergy is one of the most
common food allergies in children,” she says
and often occurs within minutes to hours
after consuming milk. “The symptoms range
from mild to severe and can include wheezing,
vomiting, hives and digestive problems,” she
explains and rarely, milk allergy can cause
anaphylaxis. According to Jafri, avoidance is
the primary treatment for milk allergy and
fortunately, most children outgrow a milk
allergy by age 3.
Shell fish
Among children, shellfish allergy is more
common in boys, says Jafri and sometimes,
a shellfish allergy is only to certain kinds of
shellfish, or you may have an allergy to all
she says. “Symptoms
usually develop within a
few minutes to hours after eating
a food containing soy.” Certain factors
can increase your chances of developing a soy
allergy and these include familial tendency,
age as soy allergy is most common in
children, especially toddlers and infants. “Also
individuals who are allergic to wheat, beans
(legumes), milk or other foods can have an
allergic reaction to soy,” tells Jafri.
Wheat allergy, tells Jafri, is one of the more
common food allergies in children but
children usually outgrow wheat allergy
between ages 3 and 5. “Wheat can be found
in many foods, including some you might
never suspect, such as breads, cakes, breakfast
cereals, pasta, crackers, soy sauce and
condiments, such as ketchup,” she says, adding,
“A wheat allergy generates an allergy-causing
shellfish. “Shellfish include marine animals
with shells, such as shrimp, crab, and lobster,
as well as octopus and squid,” she says.
“Shellfish allergy can cause mild symptoms,
such as hives or nasal congestion, or more-
severe and even life-threatening symptoms
and for some people, even a tiny amount of
shellfish can cause anaphylaxis.”
Soy, a product of soybeans, is a common food
that can cause allergies and in many cases, soy
allergy starts with a reaction to a soy-based
infant formula, says Jafri. “Although most
children eventually outgrow a
soy allergy, soy allergy
may persist into
May/June 2013